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The Holistic "Big Data" Recipe

Office_Desk_with_Laptop_Graphs.jpgDespite being a “data-derived decisions” kind of guy, I cringe a bit when I hear “big data.”These two words have been buzzing around the HR zeitgeist, and it concerns me because there’s a lack of clarity surrounding what “big data” really means, and I find media has created false expectations in the minds of business partners.

That said, I must acknowledge that big data as a concept is in the HR space to stay. Technologically, the time is right: the data sources are certainly voluminous, full of variety, and are coming at us with feverish velocity, but overall, we as an HR function need to retool our skills in order to extract the value that big data offers.

Helping organizations transition from reporting – data dumping, to analytics, decision grade information – is what I’ve been doing exclusively since 2009, before the words “HR” and “analytics” were regularly coupled. As my team and I looked to our most successful work products – the ones that created organizational value by bringing strategic intentions to life – we began to see a pattern, or recipe for success. This recipe required my team to learn skills that are not normally associated with analysts, or any HR people for that matter.

I hope that this recipe will both encourage you to consider all of the components necessary for extracting the most value from data, and think about the skills of the people in your organization who are responsible for promoting big data.

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Carl Schleyer

Carl Schleyer is a data scientist who focuses on exploring and predicting employee behavior. He has spent most of the last decade committed to improving the lives of employees, strengthening HR brands and the profitability of organizations.

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